The Miami Heat started this season putting Michael Beasley where the Suns had him at the end of last season — on the bench for entire games. Everything Beasley gets this season, except for the Suns’ first $4.7 million buyout check, will be earned. He has to earn trust, respect and playing time in Miami. The Suns handed him those, shut their eyes and crossed their fingers last year. It is going better for the Heat thus far. How could it not? The Suns’ attempt to find a playmaker and scorer in Beasley was an exasperating, expensive reach. They escaped it this summer with a $7 million buyout of the $9 million they owed Beasley. Following in-season traffic charges and involvement in a sexual assault investigation, Beasley was given criteria to meet by Suns management and was put in a counseling program. Beasley stayed in the Valley to work out, only to misstep again with an arrest on suspicion of marijuana possession during an August traffic stop in Scottsdale. The basketball did not go any better. The Suns showered him with attention and opportunity, but Beasley responded with career-worst shooting (40.5 percent) and defensive inattentiveness. By April, he was benched for three consecutive games by the interim coach (Lindsey Hunter), who pledged to give him yet another clean slate. Did he feel bad for letting down the Suns? “For a couple hours,” Beasley said Monday. The perception of Beasley’s ill fit has been twisted. He was never cancerous to the locker room. Beasley was well-liked and known to go out of his way for people personally. He just did not offer the same help on defense. Beasley was maddening to manage as a player — from the time he missed a tying layup for a 7-7 record. They finished 25-57 with Beasley fading like his form on long jumpers. “It was a dream,” Beasley said of his year in Phoenix. “Simple as that. It’s over. It’s time to move on with life. I’m glad those guys are doing well. I talked to some of those guys when they landed. No love lost. I still love those guys. We just parted ways.” Beasley’s inability to live up to his talent and a code of conduct with another second chance had him falling hard, but Miami provided a soft landing spot. The No. 2 2008 pick by the Heat, Beasley came on a make-good contract and was surrounded with mentors LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Shane Battier and Ray Allen. That’s a bit different from how former Suns General Manager Lance Blanks tried to forge a friendship.
Miami Heat’s Michael Beasley calls his year with Phoenix Suns a ‘dream’
Arizona Republic | Nov 26